ILIGAN City is actively searching for football talents and has teamed up with a sports foundation to develop pitches for training in the sports, according to Lone District of Iligan City Representative Frederick W. Siao.
“The Filipino players we hope will be competing at the World Cup of 2026 should be consistently training and playing as teammates five or more years before 2026. It takes that long to truly develop team cohesion, familiarity, body language, and style of play. That means within the next three years, we ought to be searching for them nationwide,” said Siao.
“The road to a FIFA World Cup is long, difficult, and entails huge investments in resources, people, and time. It is for this reason that I chose to help make a difference on the ground by teaming up with Football for Humanity, an international sports charity foundation,” Siao said.
Football for Humanity has been developing needed football infrastructure with five-a-side pitches, which are football play areas for teens and kids, he said.
“Football infrastructure is practically non-existent in the Philippines. To change the culture in a community, especially to its youth, infrastructure is a necessity,” Football for Humanity says on its website.
Football pitches are not just sports arenas but also centers for community interaction, FFH added.
“The community grows and evolves because of the seeds planted by football, in a simple pitch or cage where the youth can gather safely and play every day,” its website read.
Meanwhile, an updated football ranking is due on July 19.
“A new ranking system, close in concept to the Elo system, will come into effect in August. Let us see how the Azkals figure into this new formula,” said Siao.
The Azkals are currently ranked 115th (June 2018) under the current ranking system or World Ranking formula.